Navigation Links
Experiential learning teaches change and adaptation

MADISON, WI, December 15, 2009 Economics, environmental impacts, social dynamics, and production levels are all major factors that influence the overall success of an agroecosystem. Positive or negative, these factors enact change on the system, forcing individuals and social groups to continuously adapt farming and food systems in order to survive.

Experiential learning theory suggests that knowledge is gained as a direct result of firsthand experiences. Such lessons are especially valuable for environmental and agricultural educators as they consider strategies to help agroecosystem stakeholders learn how to manage change. Agroecosystems Analysis, a course conducted in a farm and rural landscape setting, is an example of an educational program that combines experiential learning and teaching. The course required students to ask questions and look at the complexities and interactions within an agroecosystem in order to develop problem-solving skills in the area of agroecology.

Dr. Kristyn Harms, an agricultural educator at Norris High School near Lincoln, NE, in conjunction with Dr. James King and Dr. Charles Francis of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, conducted a mixed methods study which analyzed the impact of the agroecology course on enrolled students. Through a combination of pretests and posttests, daily qualitative evaluations, and personal reflections, they determined that the Agroecosystems Analysis Course measurably impacted participating students. The research results are published in the latest issue of the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education.

Based on results from the study, a model was created that outlined the factors needed to create an effective experiential learning environment and, ultimately, engage behavioral change. Hands-on activities, emotional responses to experiences, human interactions, amount of self-efficacy, and intensity of experiences all contributed to an experiential learning environment that fostered behavioral change among participants. In addition, the length of course, appropriateness and rigor of content, learner-centered curriculum, ongoing education, and metacognitive processes clearly produced a more likely path for experiential learning. Economics, the environment, production-related factors, and social dynamics were also added to the model as contextual factors that influence the experiential learning environment. Inevitable changes in knowledge, attitude, skill, and behavior were considered as well. Ultimately, when working in a trusting learning community, the causal conditions of experiential learning and agroecological system factors create an environment where changes in knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors are more likely.

Based on this study, future research should focus on analyzing the metacognitive processes present within experiential education, specifically within an agricultural environment. Further studies should also examine the impacts of the causal conditions for experiential education on the outer factors of the model (economics, environmental well-being, social dynamics, and production-based issues), and measure the correlation among causal conditions and behavioral changes of individuals participating in agroecology courses.


Contact: Sara Uttech
American Society of Agronomy

Related biology news :

1. Science learning outside of school
2. Changes in brain chemicals mark shifts in infant learning
3. Why one way of learning is better than another
4. Scientists devise efficient way of learning about complex corn traits
5. Scientists are learning more about big birds from feathers
6. MU study finds connection between evolution, classroom learning
7. Learning how the pieces responsible for interpreting the human genome work
8. At WPI, some students are learning its OK to peek
9. DREAM: 1 gene regulates pain, learning and memory
10. New report on science learning at museums, zoos, other informal settings
11. Baby talk: The roots of the early vocabulary in infants learning from speech
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/22/2016)... 2016  The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics ... as one of the fastest-growing trade shows during the ... Bellagio in Las Vegas . ... growth in each of the following categories: net square feet ... of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked 23 ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... 16, 2016 The global ... to reach USD 1.83 billion by 2024, according ... Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing demand in commercial ... to drive the market growth.      ... The development of advanced multimodal techniques for biometric ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... 2016 Das DOTM ... Nepal hat ein 44 Millionen ... Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, an ... und Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte internationale ... teilgenommen, aber Decatur wurde als konformste und ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics ... Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring ... designed, built and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ... clinical trials of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. ... multiple ascending dose studies designed to assess the ... subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... as a single dose (ranging from 45 to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... YORK , June 23, 2016 ... trading session at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial ... S&P 500 closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. has initiated ... INFI ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), ... Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more about ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, ... tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The ... of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining ...
Breaking Biology Technology: